Can You Think Yourself Healthier? How to Use Your Brain’s Power to Boost Your Physical Health

If you already live a healthy lifestyle, and are eating well and exercising, but you still don’t feel as good as you know you can, then keep reading. Although a healthy diet and exercise are extremely important, by themselves they’re not enough – in order to be truly healthy, you need to have your mind on your side. This article shows you a powerful way in which you can tap into the power of your mind to maximise your health.

Why a Healthy Lifestyle May Not Be Enough

Illness and infirmity are epidemic these days. And because medical costs are soaring, more and more people are beginning to take responsibility for their own health. Doctors and other healthcare professionals advise us all to eat healthily and take regular exercise, as two of the main ways to improve our health.

These measures are certainly very important and effective. However if you put them into practice, you might have discovered that even though you seem to be doing all the right things, you still don’t feel quite as healthy as you might expect.

Of course there’s more to good health and eating well and exercising – it’s also vital to manage stress, avoid pollution, have healthy relationships etc – but even those who have excellent lifestyles may not feel 100% healthy. One possible reason for this is that the stress of our modern lifestyles can make it difficult for the body to regenerate itself.

This kind of healing and regeneration normally takes place during deep sleep phase of the sleep cycle. Unfortunately, many people do not spend as much time as they need in deep sleep. However, there is a technology available which can help to redress the balance, and that’s brainwave entrainment.

Using Brainwave Entrainment For Health

During deep sleep the brain produces predominantly delta brainwaves (brainwaves with a frequency of up to about 4Hz). These low-frequency waves are associated with the healing process. By taking your brain into the delta brainwave state, even when you’re awake, you may give your body the benefit of extra time to heal and regenerate.

However, most people who are not experienced meditators find it extremely difficult to enter the delta state while awake. Fortunately, brain wave entrainment can help, because if you listen to a suitable brainwave synchronisation recording that is designed to trigger the brain into producing delta waves, your brain should ‘follow along ‘and enter the delta state while you’re still awake, thanks to a phenomenon known as ‘frequency following response’.

By spending some time each day listening to your delta brainwave entrainment recording you’ll get the benefit of extra healing time and your health may improve as a result.

Which Type of Brainwave Synchronisation Recording is Best?

There are three types of brainwave entrainment recordings: binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones. Although isochronic tones are generally regarded as the most effective entrainment method for most purposes, many people find that they are not really suitable for delta work. Although it’s always a good idea to experiment and see what works best for you, if you’re only going to try one of these technologies, I recommend using binaural beats for any brainwave entrainment work that involves the delta frequencies.

Rebuilding the Tower of Babel – A CEO’s Perspective on Health Information Exchanges

Defining a Health Information Exchange

The United States is facing the largest shortage of healthcare practitioners in our country’s history which is compounded by an ever increasing geriatric population. In 2005 there existed one geriatrician for every 5,000 US residents over 65 and only nine of the 145 medical schools trained geriatricians. By 2020 the industry is estimated to be short 200,000 physicians and over a million nurses. Never, in the history of US healthcare, has so much been demanded with so few personnel. Because of this shortage combined with the geriatric population increase, the medical community has to find a way to provide timely, accurate information to those who need it in a uniform fashion. Imagine if flight controllers spoke the native language of their country instead of the current international flight language, English. This example captures the urgency and critical nature of our need for standardized communication in healthcare. A healthy information exchange can help improve safety, reduce length of hospital stays, cut down on medication errors, reduce redundancies in lab testing or procedures and make the health system faster, leaner and more productive. The aging US population along with those impacted by chronic disease like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma will need to see more specialists who will have to find a way to communicate with primary care providers effectively and efficiently.

This efficiency can only be attained by standardizing the manner in which the communication takes place. Healthbridge, a Cincinnati based HIE and one of the largest community based networks, was able to reduce their potential disease outbreaks from 5 to 8 days down to 48 hours with a regional health information exchange. Regarding standardization, one author noted, “Interoperability without standards is like language without grammar. In both cases communication can be achieved but the process is cumbersome and often ineffective.”

United States retailers transitioned over twenty years ago in order to automate inventory, sales, accounting controls which all improve efficiency and effectiveness. While uncomfortable to think of patients as inventory, perhaps this has been part of the reason for the lack of transition in the primary care setting to automation of patient records and data. Imagine a Mom & Pop hardware store on any square in mid America packed with inventory on shelves, ordering duplicate widgets based on lack of information regarding current inventory. Visualize any Home Depot or Lowes and you get a glimpse of how automation has changed the retail sector in terms of scalability and efficiency. Perhaps the “art of medicine” is a barrier to more productive, efficient and smarter medicine. Standards in information exchange have existed since 1989, but recent interfaces have evolved more rapidly thanks to increases in standardization of regional and state health information exchanges.

History of Health Information Exchanges

Major urban centers in Canada and Australia were the first to successfully implement HIE’s. The success of these early networks was linked to an integration with primary care EHR systems already in place. Health Level 7 (HL7) represents the first health language standardization system in the United States, beginning with a meeting at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. HL7 has been successful in replacing antiquated interactions like faxing, mail and direct provider communication, which often represent duplication and inefficiency. Process interoperability increases human understanding across networks health systems to integrate and communicate. Standardization will ultimately impact how effective that communication functions in the same way that grammar standards foster better communication. The United States National Health Information Network (NHIN) sets the standards that foster this delivery of communication between health networks. HL7 is now on it’s third version which was published in 2004. The goals of HL7 are to increase interoperability, develop coherent standards, educate the industry on standardization and collaborate with other sanctioning bodies like ANSI and ISO who are also concerned with process improvement.

In the United States one of the earliest HIE’s started in Portland Maine. HealthInfoNet is a public-private partnership and is believed to be the largest statewide HIE. The goals of the network are to improve patient safety, enhance the quality of clinical care, increase efficiency, reduce service duplication, identify public threats more quickly and expand patient record access. The four founding groups the Maine Health Access Foundation, Maine CDC, The Maine Quality Forum and Maine Health Information Center (Onpoint Health Data) began their efforts in 2004.

In Tennessee Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO’s) initiated in Memphis and the Tri Cities region. Carespark, a 501(3)c, in the Tri Cities region was considered a direct project where clinicians interact directly with each other using Carespark’s HL7 compliant system as an intermediary to translate the data bi-directionally. Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics also played a crucial role in the early stages of building this network. In the delta the midsouth eHealth Alliance is a RHIO connecting Memphis hospitals like Baptist Memorial (5 sites), Methodist Systems, Lebonheur Healthcare, Memphis Children’s Clinic, St. Francis Health System, St Jude, The Regional Medical Center and UT Medical. These regional networks allow practitioners to share medical records, lab values medicines and other reports in a more efficient manner.

Seventeen US communities have been designated as Beacon Communities across the United States based on their development of HIE’s. These communities’ health focus varies based on the patient population and prevalence of chronic disease states i.e. cvd, diabetes, asthma. The communities focus on specific and measurable improvements in quality, safety and efficiency due to health information exchange improvements. The closest geographical Beacon community to Tennessee, in Byhalia, Mississippi, just south of Memphis, was granted a $100,000 grant by the department of Health and Human Services in September 2011.

A healthcare model for Nashville to emulate is located in Indianapolis, IN based on geographic proximity, city size and population demographics. Four Beacon awards have been granted to communities in and around Indianapolis, Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana Health Centers Inc, Raphael Health Center and Shalom Health Care Center Inc. In addition, Indiana Health Information Technology Inc has received over 23 million dollars in grants through the State HIE Cooperative Agreement and 2011 HIE Challenge Grant Supplement programs through the federal government. These awards were based on the following criteria:1) Achieving health goals through health information exchange 2) Improving long term and post acute care transitions 3) Consumer mediated information exchange 4) Enabling enhanced query for patient care 5) Fostering distributed population-level analytics.

Regulatory Aspects of Health Information Exchanges and Healthcare Reform

The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the regulatory agency that oversees health concerns for all Americans. The HHS is divided into ten regions and Tennessee is part of Region IV headquartered out of Atlanta. The Regional Director, Anton J. Gunn is the first African American elected to serve as regional director and brings a wealth of experience to his role based on his public service specifically regarding underserved healthcare patients and health information exchanges. This experience will serve him well as he encounters societal and demographic challenges for underserved and chronically ill patients throughout the southeast area.

The National Health Information Network (NHIN) is a division of HHS that guides the standards of exchange and governs regulatory aspects of health reform. The NHIN collaboration includes departments like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), social security administration, Beacon communities and state HIE’s (ONC).11 The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Exchange (ONC) has awarded $16 million in additional grants to encourage innovation at the state level. Innovation at the state level will ultimately lead to better patient care through reductions in replicated tests, bridges to care programs for chronic patients leading to continuity and finally timely public health alerts through agencies like the CDC based on this information.12 The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is funded by dollars from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. HITECH’s goals are to invest dollars in community, regional and state health information exchanges to build effective networks which are connected nationally. Beacon communities and the Statewide Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement were initiated through HITECH and ARRA. To date 56 states have received grant awards through these programs totaling 548 million dollars.

History of Health Information Partnership TN (HIPTN)

In Tennessee the Health Information Exchange has been slower to progress than places like Maine and Indiana based in part on the diversity of our state. The delta has a vastly different patient population and health network than that of middle Tennessee, which differs from eastern Tennessee’s Appalachian region. In August of 2009 the first steps were taken to build a statewide HIE consisting of a non-profit named HIP TN. A board was established at this time with an operations council formed in December. HIP TN’s first initiatives involved connecting the work through Carespark in northeast Tennessee’s s tri-cities region to the Midsouth ehealth Alliance in Memphis. State officials estimated a cost of over 200 million dollars from 2010-2015. The venture involves stakeholders from medical, technical, legal and business backgrounds. The governor in 2010, Phil Bredesen, provided 15 million to match federal funds in addition to issuing an Executive Order establishing the office of eHealth initiatives with oversight by the Office of Administration and Finance and sixteen board members. By March 2010 four workgroups were established to focus on areas like technology, clinical, privacy and security and sustainability.

By May of 2010 data sharing agreements were in place and a production pilot for the statewide HIE was initiated in June 2011 along with a Request for Proposal (RFP) which was sent out to over forty vendors. In July 2010 a fifth workgroup,the consumer advisory group, was added and in September 2010 Tennessee was notified that they were one of the first states to have their plans approved after a release of Program Information Notice (PIN). Over fifty stakeholders came together to evaluate the vendor demonstrations and a contract was signed with the chosen vendor Axolotl on September 30th, 2010. At that time a production goal of July 15th, 2011 was agreed upon and in January 2011 Keith Cox was hired as HIP TN’s CEO. Keith brings twenty six years of tenure in healthcare IT to the collaborative. His previous endeavors include Microsoft, Bellsouth and several entrepreneurial efforts. HIP TN’s mission is to improve access to health information through a statewide collaborative process and provide the infrastructure for security in that exchange. The vision for HIP TN is to be recognized as a state and national leader who support measurable improvements in clinical quality and efficiency to patients, providers and payors with secure HIE. Robert S. Gordon, the board chair for HIPTN states the vision well, “We share the view that while technology is a critical tool, the primary focus is not technology itself, but improving health”. HIP TN is a non profit, 501(c)3, that is solely reliant on state government funding. It is a combination of centralized and decentralized architecture. The key vendors are Axolotl, which acts as the umbrella network, ICA for Memphis and Nashville, with CGI as the vendor in northeast Tennessee.15 Future HIP TN goals include a gateway to the National Health Institute planned for late 2011 and a clinician index in early 2012. Carespark, one of the original regional health exchange networks voted to cease operations on July 11, 2011 based on lack of financial support for it’s new infrastructure. The data sharing agreements included 38 health organizations, nine communities and 250 volunteers.16 Carespark’s closure clarifies the need to build a network that is not solely reliant on public grants to fund it’s efforts, which we will discuss in the final section of this paper.

Current Status of Healthcare Information Exchange and HIPTN

Ten grants were awarded in 2011 by the HIE challenge grant supplement. These included initiatives in eight states and serve as communities we can look to for guidance as HIP TN evolves. As previously mentioned one of the most awarded communities lies less than five hours away in Indianapolis, IN. Based on the similarities in our health communities, patient populations and demographics, Indianapolis would provide an excellent mentor for Nashville and the hospital systems who serve patients in TN. The Indiana Health Information Exchange has been recognized nationally for it’s Docs for Docs program and the manner in which collaboration has taken place since it’s conception in 2004. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS commented, “The Central Indiana Beacon Community has a level of collaboration and the ability to organize quality efforts in an effective manner from its history of building long standing relationships. We are thrilled to be working with a community that is far ahead in the use of health information to bring positive change to patient care.” Beacon communities that could act as guides for our community include the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County and the Indiana Health Centers based on their recent awards of $100,000 each by HHS.

A local model of excellence in practice EMR conversion is Old Harding Pediatric Associates (OHPA) which has two clinics and fourteen physicians who handle a patient population of 23,000 and over 72,000 patient encounters per year. OHPA’s conversion to electronic records in early 2000 occurred as a result of the pursuit of excellence in patient care and the desire to use technology in a way that benefitted their patient population. OHPA established a cross functional work team to improve their practices in the areas of facilities, personnel, communication, technology and external influences. Noteworthy was chosen as the EMR vendor based on user friendliness and the similarity to a standard patient chart with tabs for files. The software was customized to the pediatric environment complete with patient growth charts. Windows was used as the operating system based on provider familiarity. Within four days OHPA had 100% compliance and use of their EMR system.

The Future of HIP TN and HIE in Tennessee

Tennessee has received close to twelve million dollars in grant money from The State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program.20 Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) need to be full scalable to allow hospitals to grow their systems without compromising integrity as they grow.21and the systems located in Nashville will play an integral role in this nationwide scaling with companies like HCA, CHS, Iasis, Lifepoint and Vanguard. The HIE will act as a data repository for all patients information that can be accessed from anywhere and contains a full history of the patients medical record, lab tests, physician network and medicine list. To entice providers to enroll in the statewide HIE tangible value to their practice has to be shown with better safer care. In a 2011 HIMSS editor’s report Richard Lang states that instead of a top down approach “A more practical idea may be for states to support local community HIE development first. Once established, these local networks can feed regional HIE’s and then connect to a central HIE/data repository backbone. States should use a portion of the stimulus funds to support local HIE development.”22 Mr. Lang also believes the primary care physician has to be the foundation for the entire system since they are the main point of contact for the patient.

One piece of the puzzle often overlooked is the patient investment in a functional EHR. In order to bring together all the pieces of the HIE puzzle patients will need to play a more active role in their healthcare. Many patients do not know what medicines they take every day or whether they have a living will. Several versions of patient EHR’s like Memitech’s 911medical id card exist, but very few patients know or carry them.23 One way to combat this lack of awareness is to use the hospital as a catch-all and discharge each patient with a fully loaded USB card via case managers. This strategy also might lead to better compliance with post in patient therapies to reduce readmissions.

The implementation of connecting qualified organizations began earlier this year. To fully support organizations to move toward qualification the Office of National Coordinator for HIE (ONC) has designated regional education centers (TN rec) who assist providers with educational initiatives in areas like HIT, ICD9 to ICD10 training and EMR transition. Qsource, a non-profit health consulting firm, has been chosen to oversee TNrec. To ensure sustainability it is critical that Tennessee build a network of private funding so that what happened with Carespark won’t happen to HIP TN. The eHealth Initiatives 2011Survey Report states that of the 196 HIE initiatives, 115 act independently of federal funding and of those independent HIE’s, break even through operational revenue. Some of these exchanges were in existence well before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Startup funding from grants is only meant to get the car going so to speak, the sustainable fuel, as observed in the case of Carespark, has to come from value that can be monetized. KLAS research reports that 54% of public HIE’s were concerned about future sustainability while only 35% of private HIE’s shared this concern.

Hospital Implications of HIP TN (A Call to Action)

From a Financial perspective, taking our hospital into the future with EMR and an integrated statewide network has profound implications. In the short term the cost to find a vendor, establish EMR in and outpatient will be an expensive proposition. The transition will not be easy or finite and will involve constant evolution as HIP TN integrates with other state HIE’s. To get a realistic idea of the benefits and costs associated with health information integration. we can look to HealthInfoNet in Portland, ME, a statewide HIE that expects to save 37 million dollars in avoided services and 15 million in productivity reduction. Specific areas of savings include paper or fax costs $5 versus $0.25 electronically, virtual health record savings of $50 per referral, $26 saved per ED visit and $17.41 per patient/year due to redundant lab tests which amounts to $52 million for a population of 3 million patients. In Grand Junction Colorado Quality Health Network lowered their per capita Medicare spending to 24% below the national average, gaining recognition by President Obama in 2009. The Santa Cruz Health Information Exchange (SCHIE) with 600 doctors and two hospitals achieved sustainability in the first year of operation and uses a subscription fee for all the organizations who interact with them. In terms of government dollars available, meaningful use incentives exist to encourage hospitals to meet twenty of twenty five objectives in the first phase (2011-2012) and adopting and implement an approved EHR vendor. ARRA specified three ways for EHR to be utilized to obtain Medicare reimbursement. These include e-prescribing, health information exchange and submission of clinical quality measures. The objectives for phase two in 2013 will expand on this baseline. Implementation of EHR and Hospital HIE costs are usually charged by bed or by the number of physicians. Fees can range from $1500 for a smaller hospital up to $12,000 per month for a larger hospital.

Perhaps the most compelling argument to building a functional Health Information Exchange is patient and community safety. The Healthbridge reduction in disease outbreak detection of 3-5 days is a perfect example of this safety benefit. Imagine the implications in the case of a rampant virus like avian or swine flu. The goal is to avoid a repeat of the 1918 influenza outbreak and ultimately save the lives of our most at risk. Rick Krohn of Healthsense makes the case for a socially responsible HIE that serves those who are chronically ill, uninsured and homeless. As the taxpayers ultimately bear the societal burden for our country’s healthcare coverage, the need to reduce redundancies, increase efficiency and provide healthcare worthy of the United States is imperative. Right now our healthcare is in the Critical Care Unit it’s time to stabilize it through operational excellence starting with our hospital. Let’s rebuild the Tower of Babel and enhance communication to provide our patients the healthcare they deserve!

Delta Saves the Day?

One of the worst experiences I have ever had flying was also one of my best experiences at an airport. I rarely have trouble while flying, but this was one of those inevitable exceptions.

It was the summer of 2000. My mother, younger siblings and I were heading home after our annual trip to our grandparent’s house back east. Our flight itinerary was fairly simple. We were to board a small plane, designed to hold about thirty people, in Knoxville, Tennessee. A half hour later we were due to land at the large international airport in Atlanta, Georgia. After a short layover it was only a little over two and a half hours before we would land at the Denver International Airport and see our father for the first time in two weeks.

It was such a simple plan; in fact, it seemed foolproof. Unfortunately, things don’t always go the way we think they should. There are always many variables in any given situation that are ready to cause trouble and delays.

For us, it all started in Knoxville. Our little puddle jumper was apparently having a few problems. We finally boarded the plane. We soon discovered, however, that being in our assigned seats was no guarantee that we were going to take off anytime soon. We finally got up in the air and before we knew it were touching down in Atlanta, Georgia.

One thing I will always be thankful for is that we didn’t have to run through the airport like crazy people to catch the next flight. They calmly informed us at our landing gate that our flight to Denver had already headed toward the mile high city. The next available flight was four long hours away from taking off. For a mother with three children in tow, the youngest only six years old, four hours can be an eternity.

This is where the story gets good. Our airline, Delta, took full responsibility for the delay and went out of their way to ensure our comfort during the long layover. The four of us were loaded down with free food vouchers for a variety of different eateries in the airport. Immediate reservations were made for us on the very full next flight while we began using our vouchers. Moments like that stress me out to the max, it even crossed my mind that I should start investing in travel health insurance in case of a panic attack.

We found two tables in the food court area of the airport and began our feast. A man passed near our table while we were eating and tripped on a nearby chair. His food went flying through the air and landed on the floor, now uneatable. We had more than we could ever eat and were able to give the man an entire pizza, passing on the kindness that had been shown to us.

The four hours passed faster than we had thought possible and we were soon in the air. Our plane was full of young girl scouts who were far from sleepy, even though it was nearing midnight. It really didn’t matter though. We were going home.

Brainwave Entrainment In Delta Wave May Stop The Symptoms Of Some Disorders

Brainwave entrainment is a technological method that introduces specific audio stimulus to the brain with the intention of altering its frequency to match that of the entrainment. Delta brainwave frequency is associated with the unconscious and deep, slow brain activity found in deep sleep.

The introduction of delta brainwave will help you enjoy the benefits of this restorative frequency.

At the delta level, the body replenishes its energy, releases anti-aging hormones, relieves stress, boosts the immune system, and heals illnesses and injuries. The delta state rejuvenates your mind, body, and spirit. When in a deep sleep, your body is resetting its internal clock.

Without enough deep, restorative sleep, you age faster, are depressed, overweight, are under-productive, and become sick more often.

Many health problems are connected to not getting enough rejuvenating delta wave activity.

Disorders Associated With Disrupted Delta

· Irregular delta wave activity has been detected in patients with ischemic brain diseases.

· Parasomnias: sleep walking, and sleep talking, sleep terrors and confusional arousals show disruptions in slow wave sleep.

· Sleep deprivation increases irregular delta activity. It takes a while to balance the cycle after deprivation.

· Parkinson’s disease; sleep disturbances in patients with Parkinson’s show disrupted brain wave activity during delta. Drugs that induce deep sleep help significantly to improve symptoms.

· Schizophrenia; people suffering with Schizophrenia show disrupted EEG patterns and there is a close association between reduced delta wave during deep sleep and negative symptoms. During sleep, schizophrenics are not producing the deep, slow wave needed to restore the body, but during the day, when awake, there is evidence that they are producing the delta wave. When they are in delta wave, while awake, their symptoms can be severe. A recent study shows that schizophrenics have an absence of delta wave dominance in the right frontal lobe and that the usual changes in delta associated with aging, are not observed.

· Diabetes, Type II; disruptions in slow wave sleep have been shown to increase risk of developing Type II diabetes due to the disruption of the secretion of the human growth hormone secreted by the pituitary in delta frequency.

· Fibromyalgia; patients suffering from fibromyalgia report not sleeping well. Studies show that sleep in the 3rd and 4th stages, are disrupted with Alpha waves, a faster wave, not allowing the release of opiates that stop musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.

· Alcoholism; alcohol decreases slow wave activity while increasing REM. In long-term abuse of alcohol, influences of alcohol on the brain, changes the sleep structure of the individual, that may not go away after abstinence.

· Depression; could be from lack of serotonin, and human growth hormone release.

· Anxiety; if the brain is in a constant state of anxiety, it will make neural networks to reflect a chronic anxiety state.

· Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

· Attention deficit disorder (ADD)/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

· Juvenile chronic arthritis; the immune system is compromised if delta wave is disrupted allowing for auto-immune disorders to develop.

Delta brainwave entrainment can help you achieve deep relaxation and sleep. Entrainment can be used as an effective sleep aid and can enable you to experience all the benefits of a deep sleep,while requiring less effort on your part to achieve this state. There are significant health benefits associated with this slow brainwave frequency, some of which may improve the symptoms of certain disorders.